July 17, 2014

Forgetting Your Age…

Yesterday I realized that I couldn't remember how old I am. Seriously. I started subtracting numbers, using my birth year to figure out my actual age. Because I gotta tell ya, I think I stopped counting actual birthdays somewhere around 27.

I know a lot of people who focus on the years that pass them by, and I feel a little bad for them. Is that weird? Sometimes I feel like such a freak because I don't really care if I have grey hair or a couple wrinkles, or… ok, maybe a lot of laugh lines.

My grey hair starting to show! 

But dang it, I earned those!

Of course I've put on a few pounds over the years, and my skin is a little less elastic. Life has been happening around me. There have been sicknesses and hardships. There have been amazing moments and gloriously good times. I've become more healthy in some ways and less healthy in others. Isn't that how life goes? Constant change, constant growth.

I'm worried that society is placing too much emphasis on our age and physical appearance. I don't want the people I love to grow up with that kind of stigma in their minds. And I definitely don't want to waste my time wishing I was still 25, when I could be loving the fact that I'm having a grand adventure at 35!

Wait, maybe it's 36. Who can remember these things??

It's important to be healthy, but why is it so important to be forever young? I honestly wouldn't give up a single moment of life, even the bad spots. I feel like I'm growing into the person I was meant to be, and I don't want to hide it. I'm proud of who I am, and where I'm at. And I'm excited to keep working toward new goals in my future. So, I just want to say this, for those peeps who stress and worry about growing old and getting wrinkles and all that other stuff

It really isn't all that bad. In fact, it's kind of awesome. Here are some of the amazing things about growing "old" that I wouldn't give up for anything (in case you needed a little cheering up):

1. The Hubs and I grow closer everyday and we might finally be beginning to understand each other. It's beautiful and amazing, and I love getting to know him better everyday. Of course, tomorrow I might want dangle him by his toes out an upper-story window, but that's part of the fun.

2. I've built confidence over the years. I'm not the same mess of a person I was at 25. Heck, I barely knew what I would eat from one day to the next, much less who I wanted to be.

3. I have this cool, new relationship with my parents that I never had before. I was always the kid, and was treated as such. Now I'm a grown up, and I can actually be friends with my parents. I love it.

4. I've been traveling around the world for a while now, something I could barely even conceive of doing in my early 20s. There was no money for that kind of thing, you know? Now I see and do so much more, and it's opened my eyes to a whole different perspective on life.

5. I have the chance to offer things to my younger siblings that I never had a chance to experience at their age. Travel and adventure mostly, but hopefully they learn from some of my mistakes as well.

6. What they say is true… with age (and experience) comes wisdom. I totally didn't believe people when they said this, but it is most definitely true. As I've aged, I learned to handle my emotions betters. I control them, not the other way around… most of the time.

7. I don't sweat the small stuff much. As life progresses, you realize how unimportant some things are. Little things that seemed like such a big deal are small potatoes when compared with the bigger crises in life. I learned this lesson well during deployment. There was no greater fear for me, not even my own health issues, that has made such an impact.

8. I might not be working currently, but I've found work I love. When I was younger I tried so many avenues, constantly searching for the thing that fit me best. Well, now I have it! And several hobbies I love as well.

9. As I aged, I've learned to accept myself. Too often we spend time trying to be someone we're not. With age, we hopefully learn to be happy with who we are. This acceptance of self also gives us the compassion to accept others as they are.

10. Since I made LOTS of mistakes in my 20s, I figure I won't be making those again (hopefully!). Learning from all those screw ups has actually made me a much more productive adult. Who knew?!

11. My focus has both grown and narrowed. Contradictory I know, but still true. I've expanded my world view, which has actually allowed me to narrow my personal focus to those things I feel the most strongly about. You can't fix all the problems of the world at once, but dang if I didn't try in my late teens and 20s. As I grow older, I'm learning to focus as much at home as elsewhere. Real change starts with you, and those closest to you.

12. This might not apply to everyone as we all have varying beliefs, but I find myself in closer relationship with God as I age. This improves all aspects of my life, and is responsible for everything I've learned. I didn't have as much time for God when I was younger. I always believed, and I knew in my heart that God existed, I just didn't feel the need to pursue that relationship unless I was in trouble. Now, I rely on that connection everyday, not just in extreme circumstances. I can't even begin to explain how much joy that relationship brings me.

There are so many more benefits to the years as they come, I can't wait to discover them all for myself. So, the next time you're looking in the mirror and worried about your wrinkles or your saggy skin, or your grey hairs, remember this:

You are beautiful. You are wise. You are so much more than a grey hair or a wrinkle. The physical signs of aging do not define you. You define yourself. Choose what you want to be.

Until next time, my friends!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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